Kate Northrup is the daughter to Christiane Northrup, MD., author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and it is the financial journey that Kate experienced with her Mum that is featured in this book. Kate grew up in a good family, her parents were doctors with their own practice and they have a very comfortable life. However when her father and mother decided to divorce, Kate’s Mum found herself having to deal with financial issues in life that hadn’t been of concern to her before. Admittedly, Christiane had no financial education what-so-ever. It was a case of handing over that power to the man in her life – her husband, so that when he was no longer there to deal with such matters, she found herself up a creek without a paddle so to speak. (I aim to coach women against giving that power away in my coaching group and project “Sexy, Smart and Powerful Entreprenueresses” which aims at helping women to see just how sexy, smart and powerful they are and how they can achieve anything, and do anything, be anything.) It was then that Kate’s mum began to educate herself financially by reading up about finances and prosperity. Kate who was 16 at the time read those books along with her mother.
Kate’s mum allowed her to join her networking business that was already set up and even though she was in college, she was making money. However, despite being someone who many would see as a person who had the world at their feet, wealth and opportunities given to her on a plate (She lived in a apartment her mum owned), Kate struggled with handling her own finances. She spent without thinking, and got herself into $20,000 worth of credit card debt, something Kate describes as “heavy debt”. I know myself that $20,000 of debt is a lot to some people and not considered much to others depending where we are on that financial scale ourselves, but to Kate it was heavy, and we have to remember that this book is written from her perspective. During this time of being in debt, running a business her Mum had already established, and living in an apartment that her mum owned (therefore having no mortgage payments to make, rent to meet, having an income, a job and a business), that Kate decided to go around and teach women about personal finance. Make of that what you will.
Throughout the book Kate gives insight into what worked for her including many exercises to complete in a journal. I might add that the exercises, a large portion of them are taken from other “money freeing” books out there which Kate openly admits and shares with you some of the sources. Kate believes wholeheartedly that when you shift from a perspective of fear around money to a perspective of love – of money and of the self that this is where the financial healing takes place.
There are some wonderful exercises in the book especially if you are an emotional spender, or spend without thinking. Some of the questions in the exercises could certainly help you think more about what and how you spend your money on. And there are some exercises that I had to raise my eyebrows at from a trainedand qualified accountants perspective, having studied personal finance myself. For example I have to say that purchasing a “wallet or handbag” that makes you feel abundant when you are trying to train your brain to reduce your debt isn’t the smartest move, and I certainly wouldn’t have listed that as the first item to do on the list. The reason I say this is that if you are trying to reduce your debt because clearly you overspend and are living beyond your means, if you are prone to spend unconsciously, and emotionally, then that “handbag to help me feel abundant” could lead to “a pair of shoes that give me confidence” and “the lipstick that makes me look good”, and “the luxurious coat that I feel opulent in when I face my finances” etc. etc. which would only lead to MORE debt! As much as we ladies love Ms Rebecca Bloomwood (Confessions of a Shopaholic – by Sophie Kinsella), we don’t want to BE her do we?
Kate included many more ideas on how to pay attention to your finances, all apart from this one I have to say are very smart things to do.
Kate has links to worksheets on her website that compliment this book, a guide for creating a Money Love circle (support group) and even a guide for coaches who want to do this book and exercises with their clients. However I have to stress that although here in the UK there is no official regulatory body for Life Coaches, there ARE rules regarding giving financial advise to clients. To do this you HAVE to be financially qualified, and I’m not talking about a quick short course taken online. I mean a professionally regarded qualification by a financial awarded body. I’ve trained with the Open University in Personal Finance, hold a professional certificate in business studies including HR, Marketing, and Finance, along with proper Accounting qualifications with the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) and even I edge on the side of caution when faced with clients who have financial issues they want to work with me on. So please, be well aware of the rules!
I believe this book could help you understand your finances more, I believe it would bring you more questions which I would advise that you seek expert advice about. Some of the good ideas include; setting budgets, creating a Money Me Account, Changing how you think of your bills, and not feeling ashamed of your debt. There are plenty of financial advice avenues you could look into; local business advisory, accountants, and even the Citizen’s Advice Bureau if you want more personalised help.
While this book will certainly help you in some aspects your financial life, I don’t believe it is the whole entire answer to mastering the art of personal finances. It’s brilliant if you are very much on board the “LOVE IS THE ANSWER” train, but at some point we have to get off that train to stretch the legs to keep the blood flowing, and when you do get off, you have to be honest about where you are financially, what needs to be done, and how you can do it. Action steps have to be more than journaling about your financial woes of your childhood upbringing (which NOT everyone had – yet still face financial issues), or telling yourself how wonderful you are. Self confidence, belief that you can change you life, and self esteem to take control of your life is wonderful – but so are practical actions that accountants, personal finance advisors and investment advisors have been using for hundreds of years. Think of it this way, I doubt Simon Cowell, or James Caan made their financial freedom by journaling about their self love issues, or spending too much time uncovering their childhood beliefs about money.
So be smart, be practical, be financially savvy.